Rollie Clements, who had coached the Carroll boys soccer team since 1989, has died, the school announced Tuesday.
Athletic director Dan Ginder said Clements had been ill for several weeks, and the assistant coaching staff had been leading the team when he was not able to.
Clements took over as the Chargers' coach before soccer was even a sanctioned IHSAA sport. Since then, he had a record of 428-141-56 and celebrated 13 sectional titles, eight regional titles and two semistate titles with generations of Carroll soccer players.
“It's a huge hit to our kids who knew him well and worked with him,” Ginder said. “It was a rough day, and we're getting through it. That's certainly what Rollie would want us to do. We're going to celebrate his life with competing tomorrow, and hopefully show a little bit about honoring his legacy.”
That next competition will be a DeKalb Sectional semifinal against Northrop, which will begin at 5 p.m. today as scheduled.
This year's Chargers team finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in Class 3A and beat East Noble 13-0 in the DeKalb Sectional opener Monday, the same night the news of his death began to spread in the Fort Wayne soccer community.
At the Class 2A Woodlan Sectional Tuesday, each game began with a moment of silence, and some players and coaches wore blue tape on their wrists in his memory.
“Rollie was an asset to the entire Carroll community. He retired from teaching in the everyday classroom at the end (of) last (school) year, ... but he maintained his role as head soccer coach, and still was a guy we counted on to do everything,” Ginder said.
“We asked him to do this, that, or something else, and the answer was yes. He helped us with game day events outside of soccer. He helped us as a girls basketball assistant. He helped in the athletic department, with grade and academic checks. He was a huge go-to guy, well beyond soccer.”
Clements was inducted to the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011. The organization shared its condolences on social media Tuesday.
“RIP Coach Clements. The ISCA sends its love and prayers to Rollie's family, friends, team and school,” a statement from the ISCA read.
“He is a member of our Hall of Fame and was a key contributor to the development of HS soccer in Fort Wayne and the State of Indiana. He will be dearly missed.”
Dylan Sinn of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.